Unfortunately our time in Tirana was over and the next morning we were in the bus and on our way to Macedonia (FYROM) and the township of Ohrid, one of Europe’s oldest recorded settlements, which is situated on a giant lake high in the mountains. Ohrid is UNESCO listed for both it’s historical and natural significance with unique flora and fauna as well as many ancient ruins. On our first afternoon we went for a walk through the markets as well as checked out some of the churches, Ohrid once boasted 365 churches, one for each day of the year and its corresponding patron saint. That evening we had a traditional dinner at a great family run restaurant and stopped in at the Ramstore (which randomly has a giant green kangaroo as its logo) for a couple of snickers ice creams before turning in.
Day two in Ohrid started with exploration of Samuil’s Fortress, a towering structure that overlooks the lake and the Old Town, it took a bit of climbing and was great fun running around on the top of the towers, the closest we have come to a medieval castle yet! The internal structures are almost completely destroyed, with only foundations remaining, the walls however are in great shape and it was possible to climb the towers and ramparts to take some great photos. Even if Jess claims our travel insurance will be voided by posting them…
After climbing around in the punishing heat it was time to gather our crew and head out onto the lake for a nautical picnic with the rest of our tour group. We also went for a swim in the lake, Lake Ohrid is 300m deep at its deepest point, it is also freezing. This made it all the more daring when we dived into it from the boat and took the time to pose for a group selfie. After our swim and picnic we went and dried out in the sun with some cocktails. I’m not going to lie, when I read that we were going to an inland lake in the mountains of Macedonia at no stage did I think I would be laying by the water on a sun bed, in 30 degree heat and knocking back a couple of bahama mamas. Good times.
Our next stop was Skopje, the capital of Macedonia. Pretty crazy place, they have spent the last fifteen years building giant statues and monuments, lighting them with party lights and building giant museums etc in Roman style, could be the go to tourism destination in 500 years or so. They also make some of the greasiest pastries the world has ever seen, filled with meat and cheeses and served with yoghurt they are gold the first few times… We also visited a derelict fortress that overlooks the city, pretty weird, could be an amazing attraction but has been completely neglected. Has a few paths to nowhere, lots of taped off and condemned areas and some ruins you could easily fall to your death in. No photos from here as I got separated from the rest of the group using my parkour technique to manoeuvre through the ruins.
I’ll continue this entry in chapter 2b tonight as this one has hit its limit for media and there is a movie of Jess trying to take a selfie in a kayak that you don’t want to miss!!